LEADING OFF: Cespedes exits, ALCS travels to Kansas City

A look at what's happening around the major leagues Thursday:



In the NL Championship Series, the Cubs needed to win Game 4 against the Mets on Wednesday night to force a Game 5 at Wrigley Field - that game would be at 8:07 p.m. EDT. Meanwhile, the AL Championship Series travels back to Kansas City for Friday's Game 6 after Toronto staved off elimination with a 7-1 win on Wednesday.


The Mets are hoping for a quick bounce back for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who exited Game 4 of the NLCS with a sore left shoulder. Cespedes walked and scored on Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the first inning then struck out looking in the second before being replaced by Juan Lagares. He was hitting .273 with two homers and seven RBIs in the postseason before Wednesday.


Troy Tulowitzki entered this fall as a career .211 hitter in the postseason and then struggled offensively early in these playoffs while coming back from a cracked scapula. Over the past four games, though, he's emerged as an ALCS MVP candidate. Tulowitzki is 7 for 15 with a homer and two doubles in that span, including a three-run double in a 7-1 Game 5 win on Wednesday.


The Blue Jays haven't won many close games this postseason, but 20-year-old closer Roberto Osuna has been outstanding. The Mexican reliever jumped from the Class A to the majors this year and seamlessly emerged as the club's closer around midseason. He has a 1.23 ERA in 7 1-3 innings this postseason, including a perfect inning in Game 5.


Kansas City got its only run in Game 5 on a homer from catcher Salvador Perez, who has thrived this postseason under fresher legs. It was Perez's fourth homer in 10 games in these playoffs after he hit just one homer in 15 postseason games last year. Kansas City ran the three-time All-Star hard down the stretch last year, but made it a point to limit the backstop's use this year to keep him fresh for October. He still led the majors with 1,192 1-3 innings caught, but that's more than 50 fewer innings than he received in 2014.